December 22, 2017

Newsletters

Me at the lake

Fictional Worlds of 2017 

For the first five and a half months of 2017, I lived with Paul Salvage in his dystopian world as I completed the second draft of The Devil Particle. I stayed in that world the rest of this year writing about Paul’s rivalGaige Devlin, and his struggles in the second book of the trilogy. But throughout the year, I’ve also inhabited many other fictional worlds. Reading good literature is one of the great perks of being a writer — along with going to work in my pajamas.

In 2017, I explored the worlds of:

  • Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell — Not an easy read, but definitely worth the effort. I don’t know how he did it. The timeline alone would drive most writers crazy.
  • Before the Fall by Noah Hawley (the award-winning writer of the TV series Fargo and Legion) — A quick read; the likable protagonist stands out in a too-real scenario. 
  • A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman– Definitely not a likable protagonist but he grows on you. It’s an engrossingly simplistic book. I’m looking forward to watching the Academy Award nominated movie. 
  • Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay — I’m a huge fan of Stephen King and read two or more of his books a year, but it’s been a long time since a horror book has unnerved me as much as this one did. I was so engrossed when reading it that I didn’t notice my daughter had entered the room until she was right beside me. Scared the crap out of me. Twice. 
  • Where Fish Can Breath by Tricia D. Wagner — This beautifully written novella had me looking at fish in a whole new light. 
  • Dr. Sleep by Stephen King — Little Danny from The Shining is now 30 years old with demons of his own in this engrossing sequel. 
  • And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie — When I discovered that Dan Stevens (of “Downton Abbey” fame) narrated the audio version, I had to get it. I enjoyed guessing who dunnit and still being surprised while listening to Dan’s velvety voice.
  • Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad — Much of The Devil Particle is a psychological thriller so I listened to Kenneth Branagh narrate this classic because it deftly delves into the human psyche. 
  • Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh — this sweet book is like a massage for my mind; soothing and rejuvenating.
  • The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows — My mother, sister, and I selected this novel for our three-person book club. While reading it, my mother and sister had a hard time delineating between the characters. My audio version was narrated by different actors so I didn’t have that problem. Despite this, we all enjoyed it’s historical and entertainment value.
  • Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, narrated by him, too. Incredibly imaginative — so much fun!  
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, narrated by Claire Danes — I enjoyed the unfolding of the dystopian world. Now I’ll have to watch the award-winning TV series.
  • On the Road to Where the Bell Tolls by M. J. Williams — a fun cozy mystery by two gifted writer friends and skillfully narrated by Jane Oppenheimer.
  • Wool by Hugh Howey, narrated by Minnie Goode — I listened to this for more insight on how to write dystopian societies. The first twist blew my mind.
  • Fluke: Or I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings written by Christopher Moore, narrated by Bill Irwin  — made me laugh out loud . . . while on a treadmill . . . at the gym. 

What books did you read in 2017? Which were your favorites? Least favorites? I’d love to hear about them

     Thank you for reading!